17 September 2008

Brief Interviews with Restaurant Pillagers

I'm so glad I'm back on the blog because I'm vigilant once again about capturing moments on my digicam. Case in point, Gwennie to the left here, gawking at the undercarriage of some anatomically correct decor.  That's the real wine at the table.  
  
To kick off the annual migration away from hot dogs and linen -- -- we headed to the Scarlet Oak Tavern for a pre-autumn dine in front of the fireplace. Instead, we ended up around the corner from the fireplace where we were about three drinks away from having the wait staff place orange cones around our table.  Out of nowhere,  a rap sheet of restaurant pillaging began spreading across the table like jacquard.   It started when I spied a graceful gazelle sculpture in mid-gallop above Gwen and was immediately (and somewhat irrationally) seized by the desire to see this fine strapping animal atop my piano at the annual Christmas soiree.  With the help of some strategically placed votives -- I reckoned this sculpture would cast a reindeer-esque shadow on the living room wall.  I don't know where this urge to steal came from. I'm not a stealer. Even when I do the EasyShop at Stop & Shop, I'm a girl scout, even becoming smug when I'm randomly selected for a shopping cart audit.  Scan the produce, bitch, go ahead, do it.

My grandmother and her cronies used to pack their giant handbags to capacity with napkins and Sweet N'Low with zero remorse.  Then again, they were raised with a Great Depression mentality, the same one that inspired their recycling of tea bags and pantries full of processed tubular vittles known as "food sticks." (don't ask).

Of course, there were the drunken bouts of kleptomania in our youth.  I have an entire set of pint glasses from the Field in Cambridge. One time, PG lifted some stainless steel stools from that pizza place next to Copperfield's for no apparent reason and stuffed them into a cab. The cab driver even made room for the stolen booty in the front seat. But that's all bygones.

I couldn't explain this foreign late-30s urge to sneak that gazelle out of the restaurant and hide it in the attic like some latter day Greg Brady and his goat.  But I soon learned that many have gotten the urge at least once -- and have acted on it.  For instance, there is a galvanized potbellied pig parked on Gwen's hearth that has been masquerading as a well-placed decorative accent for awhile now.  Apparently the swine was swaddled in a sweatshirt and smuggled out of a Newport restaurant by her husband.  Does anyone ever wonder what happened to that blue stuffed talking parrot that used to taunt diners at Anchovies in the South End? It's at Dillard's apartment.  There once was a cool dog painting that graced the walls of the West Street Grille. That is, until Cameo tucked it under her arm and strode down Tremont Street, her clip-on ponytail swinging in the wind.  Perhaps the biggest kick came from my father-in-law.  James told me the two red leather club chairs at his father's house were actually rolled out of a South Shore watering hole many years ago.

On the restaurant pillaging scene, most seemed to subscribe to the tenet: "if it's not nailed down..."  After giving the gazelle a good shake, Gwen declared that, alas, our lean, leaping animal was indeed nailed down.  Our waitress came over to investigate the commotion.  Gwen pretended to inspect it closely, asking from which corner of the world this knick knack came from? Africa? Malaysia, perhaps? 

"Home Goods. Queen Anne's Connah," the waitress said.   Apparently the Scarlet Oak is teeming with Home Goods merchandise.  Since most of us are at Home Goods at least twice a week, interest in the gazelle quickly plummeted and conversation turned to a fantasy scenario involving Celine Dion in a crosswalk.


(Swiper no swiping)

10 comments:

GOY said...

I still steal, usually while drinking vodka. My most recent item was a wooden rooster from my reunion. I felt it would look better in my friend Dawn's house. It is atop her cabinet diplayed like a trophy. I look at it as a good deed. It improved the decor of the restaraunt.

Alex said...

Abalone shell from the hotel bar at a wedding in Mendocino last month. I blame it on having a stroller now with plenty of room underneath.

welcome back!

KJ said...

Goy--I forgot about that rooster -- a great "steal." I'll have to lift something from my 20th reunion in tribute.

Alex--The stroller is such a worthy facilitator of thievery. A few years ago, I saw someone trolling the aisles of the local liquor store with one of those Phil & Ted's bunk bed style strollers -- with no child in it! I think he was trying to pass it off as his own personal shopping cart but you just know the guy was stashing 12-packs on level 1.

Michelle said...

I stole a three-foot iron Kokopelli from a fancy restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ.

Still got it in my basement.

KJ said...

Michelle, that is truly amazing. My brother, James and I tried to smuggle the three-foot iron Kokopelli out of the Cottonwood about 10 years ago but were foiled! It's still there, just begging to be pilfered.

Anonymous said...

No, crosswalks for Celine. I like to imagine her having her picture taken at the Grand Canyon, and in typical Celine fashion, trying to look better than it. As for me, I'm the photographer saying just a little one more step back, alittle further, a little further....

KJ said...

Anon, that's a fantastic scenario. I'm sure K. Dillard -- with her "I Don't Brake for Celine Dion" bumper magnet -- would embrace the opportunity. Thanks for sharing.

jal said...

Do the clothes pins on the napkin from the French Laundry count?

KJ said...

How was French Laundry??? Do you still have to book years in advance? Can't wait to hear about it!

LPD said...

Leather biker jacket from Kelleher's tavern. A chase from the jacket's own biker ensued, followed by a confrontation with the Westfield police department. The police told the biker to "leave these kids alone" and let us go, never knowing that the confiscated jacket was in the trunk of my maroon Ford Taurus.